Kimberly-Clark Corporation (K-C) has made significant inroads in meeting its Environmental Vision 2010 goals, in addition to reducing its energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to its 2008 Sustainability Report, “Shaping a Healthier World.”
Since 2005, the Dallas-based company of health and hygiene products has increased its energy efficiency by 4.5 percent and achieved a seven percent reduction in GHG emissions per ton of production at its manufacturing facilities.
In 2008, K-C’s total energy use was 76.4 trillion British thermal units, of which approximately 20.7 percent came from renewable sources. The company’s energy efficiency improved to 14.8 million Btu (MBtu) per ton of production, compared with 15.5 MBtu per ton in 2007. Greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing have dropped from 1.25 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) per ton of production in 2005 to 1.16 tons of CO2-e in 2008.
In addition, 98 percent of the wood fiber K-C used globally in 2008 came from suppliers or forestlands certified to one of five internationally-recognized sustainable forestry systems. Of the fiber used in all K-C manufactured products in 2008, about 27 percent was recycled. This figure is 31 percent for tissue products only. The company also has added recycled paper products to its portfolio under the Scott’s Naturals brand.
The company also kept over 75 percent of its 1.54 million tons of non-hazardous waste out of the landfill as part of the company’s Vision 2010 goal to eliminate manufacturing waste sent to landfills and to reduce waste its facilities generate. However, it increased its waste generation by more than 11 percent in 2008 primarily to due the start-up of a new tissue machine and a new de-inking operation.
K-C’s water efficiency target in water-stressed regions and those with stringent regulatory targets is to use 25 cubic meters per ton of product by 2010. The target is 30 cubic meters in other regions. In 2008, water efficiency was 45.4 cubic meters per ton of production on average, reducing freshwater use by more than 1 million cubic meters, despite a 3 percent increase in production. The company has improved water use efficiency by 15 percent since 2000.
K-C has earned several environmental awards over the past year including EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year, EPA SmartWay Partner of the Year, led the personal products category of the 2008 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and ranked ninth on the EPA’s list of Fortune 500 companies using green power.
In February, however, Greenpeace released its latest Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide, recommending brands like Green Forest, Seventh Generation and 365. At the time, Kimberly-Clark products ranked low on the guide because the company was “literally wiping away ancient forests to make their disposable products,” wrote mikeg on Greenpeace’s blog.